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Who is Issa Tall? What you need to know about the new Columbus Crew GM replacing Tim Bezbatchenko

Tim Bezbatchenko, the local Columbus soccer player turned front office mogul, is making the move to European soccer. And with Bezbatchenko leaving his position as Crew President and General Manager, Issa Tall has been promoted to Assistant General Manager.

“In addition to having strong relationships with (Crew coach) Wilfried Nancy, our players and staff, Issa (Tall) is very qualified to be our general manager,” Crew owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. “While some mid-season transitions will present challenges, we are confident that Issa’s vast experience and familiarity with our club’s personnel and long-term strategy will seamlessly allow us to continue our success in 2024 and beyond.”

Tall was in the running for the general manager job at DC United this season and was said to be one of the finalists for the position.

Tall joined the Crew in 2020 and served as Bezbatchenko’s right-hand man as assistant GM and director of player personnel and strategy. Tall helped Bezbatchenko bring in current coach Wilfried Nancy, and Tall played an influential role in signing key players such as striker Cucho Hernandez and forward Lucas Zelarayan.

“I am incredibly grateful to the Haslam, Johnson and Edwards families for this new role, as well as their and Tim Bezbatchenko’s significant contributions to the club and my growth since joining Columbus,” said Tall. “While I am excited about this, For many reasons, the vision, culture and commitment to excellence that we share are at the top of the list. Everyone is committed to improving and being the best for our team, the city and the supporters.”

July 3, 2022;  Columbus, Ohio, USA;  Columbus Crew designated player Cucho (9) is introduced by assistant general manager Issa Tall prior to the game against Philadelphia Union at Lower.com Field.  Mandatory credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY SportsJuly 3, 2022;  Columbus, Ohio, USA;  Columbus Crew designated player Cucho (9) is introduced by assistant general manager Issa Tall prior to the game against Philadelphia Union at Lower.com Field.  Mandatory credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

July 3, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Crew designated player Cucho (9) is introduced by assistant general manager Issa Tall prior to the game against Philadelphia Union at Lower.com Field. Mandatory credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to his time in Columbus, Tall worked with Bezbatchenko in the Toronto FC front office. Bezbatchenko was the general manager there, and in 2013 he hired Tall to be part of the player personal and scouting department.

In 2015, Tall joined FIFA and led the implementation of the new FIFA World Rankings. He also scouted stadiums for several World Cups. His experience aided Tall’s role in contributing to the design of Crew’s OhioHealth Performance Center and Lower.com Field.

In 2009, Tall moved to the United States from France to play collegiately at Adelphi University in Long Island, New York, where he was the team leader in points for several seasons as a midfielder/forward.

December 12, 2023;  Columbus, Ohio, USA;  Columbus Crew owner Dee Haslam (left), assistant general manager Issa Tall (center) and JW Johnson (right) raise the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy as they celebrate their 2023 MLS Cup victory at Chase Plaza outside Lower.com Field.December 12, 2023;  Columbus, Ohio, USA;  Columbus Crew owner Dee Haslam (left), assistant general manager Issa Tall (center) and JW Johnson (right) raise the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy as they celebrate their 2023 MLS Cup victory at Chase Plaza outside Lower.com Field.

December 12, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Crew owner Dee Haslam (left), assistant general manager Issa Tall (center) and JW Johnson (right) raise the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy as they celebrate their 2023 MLS Cup victory at Chase Plaza outside Lower.com Field.

Tall resided in upstate New York when he began his internship with Major League Soccer in the player competition department. There he first met Bezbatchenko and the two worked on projects together.

That long working relationship has paved the way for Tall to take over from Bezbatchenko at the Crew.

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Columbus Crew: Meet Issa Tall, the man replacing GM Tim Bezbatchenko

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